Nice scenery- shame about the plot.
With his life under threat from his own father, Second Prince Chagum flees the palace in the company of the legendary female bodyguard Balsa, a woman who has sworn to repay those who died because of her by saving one life for each of them. Now Chagum must learn to live the life of a commoner, even as Balsa protects him from the inevitable wave of assassins, whilst various powers try to find the truth behind the so-called ‘water fiend’ that possessed Chagum and forced him into this situation in the first place.
Despite not rating it highly in my spring preview, when it first started, the future looked bright for Seirei no Moribito- admittedly, the tale of a prince and a bodyguard running away from the Eight Evil Men glimpsed on the website didn’t feel like something that would take up twenty-six episodes, but even so, the early episodes had much to offer. The settings were beautifully animated, the characters ranged from inoffensive to likable and the action scene in episode three was so fluid and well choreographed that it blew away most of the competition.
Unfortunately, after such a promising start, my relationship with the series was to quickly go downhill. Complacent after the strong beginning, Seirei was quickly to sink into a whole new regime, one that could be summarised quite simply as Sitting and Talking. Week after week, this was all the characters seemed to do- the villains sat around and talked about plans to catch Balsa; Balsa and Chagum sat with their allies and discussed the plot, and even supporting character Shuga spent all his time sitting in the royal archives, reading texts and occasionally talking to his superiors. For some, the slow pace was charming, but sadly for me, it was just frustratingly dull- and yet, having persevered with the series for week after week in the hopes of improvement, I felt I had to see it through to the end.
That being said, I’ll go so far as to admit that it wasn’t all bad, and indeed even in those days of endless monotony, there were still a few notable scenes- those being Balsa’s flashback episode (and accompanying action sequence) and the final battle between the Eight Not-So-Evil-After-All Men and the monstrous La Lunga. Sadly, such moments were few and far between, oases in a desert where the plot never advanced and the characters never did anything.
Although on paper it has many cast members, the focus of the series is always on Balsa and Chagum- although perhaps this is just as well when many of the characters seem to be as lacklustre as the plot. The only truly memorable supporting character is Torogai, an older shaman who isn’t afraid to dive right into the middle of peril if it means she can see something interesting. As for Balsa and Chagum themselves, they are certainly inoffensive and generally well developed, but in general they just do not stand out.
When it comes to visuals, Seirei at least manages to get one thing right- no matter its other flaws, the settings are always sumptuously detailed and attractive. Less attention is given to the character designs, which are solid rather than complex or distinctive- although at least this fits the tone of the series. The series’ music is largely forgettable.
If it had been a two hour movie without all the extraneous filler, Seirei no Moribito would have been excellent, but as a twenty-six episode series, it just doesn’t work. The good moments are too few and far between to justify wading through the reams of dullness and monotony- just marvel at screencaps of the beautiful scenery and leave it at that.
The judges’ verdict
Beige: Dull, dull, dull.
Pink: When it started, I thought it was going somewhere, but it soon became clear that it wasn’t. Seirei no Moribito- more like Seirei no Yawn.
Blue: What was up with all that messing around? We want to see action scenes like the one in episode three.
Orange: Well, it was a lot like Watching Paint Dry, wasn’t it?